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- Tried & Tested
I was travelling from London to Trivandrum, India, via Dubai and had a 7.5-hour layover in the middle of the night so was glad of my Priority Pass card that allowed me access to one of the Marhaba lounges. There was a generous buffet of hot and cold dishes and free alcohol, though you had to pay to use the showers and there were only three sofas where you could stretch out and sleep (these were all taken). There were plenty of armchairs but these seemed to have been designed to be as uncomfortable as possible for anyone to fall asleep in. Wifi was free and there were charging points for laptops/phones.
I was really tired by the time it came to boarding at 0345 so by the time I was settled in my window seat near the back of the plane I was asleep. This was despite the fact that the economy seat was one of the most uncomfortable I have ever experienced – the back was rock solid, just a piece of plastic with no padding at all. The upholstery was also worn and looked dated and when I got up later in the flight to step out into the aisle, I managed to knock my knee on the outside armrest which left a nasty bruise.The food looked pretty inedible so I didn’t eat the breakfast. There were seat-back screens but I was too tired to watch anything and it didn’t look like it was AVOD – just films on a loop.
Upon landing in Trivandrum, as people were disembarking, a man in the same row as me had a fit of some kind and then fell unconscious. All the nearby passengers who were crammed into the aisle with their bags stopped to watch as crew clambered over seats to help him and a female passenger (possibly a relative) held him down on the seat. The crew responded well to the situation, though more efforts probably should have been made to instruct everyone to leave the plane and not stand in the way gawping. I left before I saw what happened to him. Hopefully he was okay.
Once inside the airport, which looked quite new, immigration was speedy. Baggage reclaim, though, was a nightmare as everyone grabbed trolleys and crowded around the carousel creating a scrum five people deep so even if you saw your bag you couldn’t get it. I was at the back and when I spotted my case I had to shout to people to grab it for me. I then had to force my way through to get it, and then back to my own trolley (if you can’t beat them, join them!)
This year I flew on the same EK aircraft in Economy and I too found the seat very uncomfortable, but it was bearable for the 3 hours 30 minutes. I was however very impressed by the Cabin Crew. There was a young American couple travelling and she obviously had a fear of flying or suffered from travel sickness or both. They had communicated this to the crew on boarding and everything was done to reassure her and calm her down. Sure enough, she was sick just after take-off.
I hope you enjoyed Kerala.